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Letter to Residents

October 9, 2008

Re: Elkhart, Ind., Municipal Water Hookups
Public Meeting: Oct. 15, 2008, 7 p.m., Osolo Elementary School

Dear Resident,

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would like to announce that residents living in the Lane Street ground water contamination neighborhood are eligible for connection to the city of Elkhart municipal water supply this fall at no charge. As you probably know, Indiana Department of Environmental Management last year discovered the hazardous chemical TCE (trichloroethylene) had contaminated underground water supplies in the Lane Street area. Underground water is known as "ground water" in environmental terms. Since the discovery of the pollution, affected residents have been protected with different types of water filtration systems or provided bottled water.

EPA, IDEM, city and county officials are holding a public information session about the environmental issue on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 7 - 9 p.m. at the Osolo Elementary School, 24975 CR 6 E., Elkhart. At the meeting officials will talk about the situation and collect signed access and legal agreements from eligible residents so the water hookups can proceed.

The access agreement gives EPA and its contractors permission to go on a homeowner's property to install the water line. It also allows EPA to close and plug all water wells on the property. Private wells on Lane Street are either already contaminated or sit in the path of the mass or "plume" of moving contaminated underground water and will be affected in the future.

The city of Elkhart also wants eligible residents to sign a compact agreement. By signing this legal document, in return for no-charge water hookups homeowners give up the right to protest any future attempt by the city to annex the neighborhood. While the city will waive the normal connection fees, residents are still responsible for their monthly water bills.

Homeowners will have the opportunity to sign the access and compact documents at the meeting but must bring proof of ownership in the form of a copy of the recorded warranty deed. The document must be signed in front of a notary public who will be present at the meeting. Residents who cannot attend the meeting should make arrangements by contacting Linda Weaver with the Elkhart Public Works Utilities at 574-293-2572.

It is anticipated water line work will start in late October and be completed in December. If you have questions you can contact me, Kenneth Theisen, EPA on-scene coordinator, at 312-886-1959 or theisen.kenneth@epa.gov.

EPA needs your cooperation in signing the legal documents so we can proceed with the water hookups and stop any chance of exposure to the contaminated ground water. I hope you can attend and participate in the Oct. 15 meeting.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Theisen
EPA Region 5
On-Scene Coordinator


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